Literary Opportunities


For all Literary staff information, please click here

Our email is

Before submitting your play to us, please read the guidelines below.


The Finborough Theatre welcomes unsolicited scripts at any time of the year.

The Finborough Theatre is a fifty-seat Off-West End theatre in Central West London. Working in the text-based tradition, the unique energy of the Finborough Theatre is the paradox sustained by staging ambitious and epic work within the confines of an intimate space.

We seek to develop new work that is:

Thematically expansive – In the words of our Artistic Director, the Finborough Theatre is interested in “plays that matter on subjects that matter, regardless of fashion”. We are interested in playwrights and plays that present unique challenges to ideological assumptions about community, nation and world.

Ideologically brave – The Finborough Theatre has developed an enviable reputation as an intellectual hot-house of ideas and confrontation. We are a theatre that programmes politically engaged plays to challenge the vanities, hypocrisies and oppressions of our times. We actively bring fresh voices into social and political debates about the world into a 50-seat theatre in Earl’s Court.

Artistically ambitious – We actively seek playwrights who have moving and unusual insights into the nature of our social world, and whose theatrical voice and vision are unique. We welcome and encourage big, ambitious plays with large casts.

We welcome scripts from both unrepresented and represented writers. We programme productions in accordance with the theatre’s artistic policy and additionally we maintain an extensive, pro-writer development process consisting of one-to-one dramaturgy and workshops. As a matter of policy, we do not believe in “development” for the sake of it, and are always actively searching for playwrights and plays that we can actually produce.

We are not interested in just finding the “flavour of the month”, but building a lasting and mutually beneficial relationship with a playwright and working closely with them over a long period. For example, we have produced plays by writer James Graham every year since 2005 and by Anders Lustgarten every year since 2007.

Please read some of the following links to get a better idea of the theatre and our work, and come and see some of our productions:





For full information about the Papatango New Writing Competition, please visit

Entries have now closed for the 2014 Prize.


We encourage script submissions on all subjects and themes, but we are particularly interested in:
• New writing by writers of all ages.
• Plays that are politically and socially engaged.
• Works for music theatre (please provide a CD and allow longer for us to review it).
• Plays about the Kensington and Chelsea area, local history and personalities.
• Adaptations of obscure books written after 1800.
• Plays that are artistically ambitious and thematically expansive.
• Plays with large casts.
• We welcome scripts from international writers, but can only accept plays written in English, Scots or Scots Gaelic.


There are plays on subjects or in styles that do not fit our artistic policy. These are some of the subjects that are better serviced by other producing theatres in London:

• We do not produce plays about urban, middle-class “twenty/thirtysomethings” preoccupied with relationships or emotional problems.
• We are not programming plays about paedophilia for the foreseeable future.
• We unfortunately do not have an audience for children’s plays.
• We do not programme any work that has been produced in London in the last 25 years.
• We only programme plays written post-1800, and likewise we don’t often programme historical or biographical plays set pre-1800. In particular, we are not interested in biographical plays about Shakespeare, Christopher Marlowe, Oscar Wilde, John Clare or Dr Johnson.
• We do not read film, television or radio scripts.
• We do not programme adaptations or versions of texts written before 1850 - i.e. Shakespeare, Homer, Buchner, Greek or Roman myths etc

Please note that you can send a play if it is on one of these subjects if it all you have and you would like us to see an example of your writing, but it is helpful to make that clear in your cover letter.


Please read all of this webpage.

Please don’t send us your very first draft. Please give your script time to settle, read it again, seek feedback from your peers and incorporate some rewrites. The fourth draft is usually when a play is ready for us to consider.

It is essential that all pages of the script must be numbered and include the play title, your name and your contact details in small print on every page (this can be done with the “Insert > Footer” option in Microsoft Word). For example: “Hamlet by William Shakespeare. 07967 654382 william@stratford,com". This is in line with standard professional practice.

A short synopsis of the plot.

A one-page CV of your writing experience to date including any readings/productions you may have had. If you do not have a CV, some idea of your background and writing experience included in your cover letter is fine.

A cover letter that includes all your contact details, and, specifically, your email address. If you do not include an email address or an SAE, we will not reply to you.

We welcome submissions from writers outside the United Kingdom. However, please bear in mind that as we are unable to engage constructively in development work on an ongoing basis with people who live abroad, scripts from overseas writers will need to be at a considerable state of development already.

Music theatre. We welcome music theatre submissions, but please note that we can only accept scores on a CD posted to us. We cannot accept emailed music files.

Please only submit one play at a time. Unless we specifically ask to see further examples of your work, please wait at least twelve months before submitting any more plays to us. Please be considerate of other writers – we have limited resources and are anxious to see the work of as many different writers as possible.

Please be aware that we cannot provide feedback or enter into discussion on your work. If you are primarily seeking feedback on your script, we would still like to see your script, but would encourage you to send your work to other new writing venues such as the Royal Court Theatre, the National Theatre, Bush Theatre, Hampstead Theatre and Soho Theatre, who – as publicly funded venues – will be able to offer you more detailed feedback than is possible for us.


With the exception of CD recordings of musicals, we actively discourage submissions by post, both for logistical and environmental reasons, but will accept them if you are unable to use the internet. Please note that posted submissions may take longer to review.

Please do not send your only copy of a play or recording of your score. Although every care is taken with your work, we cannot be held responsible if it is lost.

Please do not send your script via registered post or any method that involves signing for a package.

Please include a stamped addressed envelope for the return of your script. If you do not include one, we will recycle your script.

Please also ensure that you have affixed correct postage for your script.

For submissions from overseas, please note that we do not accept International Reply Coupons and cannot return submissions from overseas. Please provide an email address for us to contact you on.

Please do not deliver your script by hand.

Please mark your envelope LITERARY in the top left hand corner and post to:
Literary Submissions
Finborough Theatre
118 Finborough Road
SW10 9ED



It is helpful to format the script as a PDF before sending which will ensure that the formatting of your text stays the same. There are many free tools on the internet that you can download which will do this for you.

Email your script to

Please write the title of the play you are submitting in the subject line.


We always try to return your script as quickly as we can. The time is takes will vary from a week to up to three months, and is entirely dependent on how many scripts we have received.

Please do not call or email us to check the progress of your script unless we have had it for more than three months.

We prefer to reply to playwrights via e-mail as this system is both more efficient and eco-friendly. If you do not include an email address or a SAE, we will not reply to you.


Once your play is submitted, it will be read by the Senior Reader, one of our Literary Assistants or one of the Finborough Theatre’s Resident Assistant Directors for evaluation. As a matter of policy, we deliberately only have a very small team of scriptreaders who we have very carefully trained. Music theatre will be reviewed by our Literary Associate, Music Theatre who listens to all CD’s and reads the librettos of all music theatre works submitted. 

If your script does not fit our remit, it will be returned to you as soon as possible. Unfortunately, we are not a publicly funded venue and do not have the resources to give personalized feedback.

All work submitted is automatically considered for Vibrant, our annual festival of Finborough playwrights.

We do encourage all writers to invite us to viewings and showcases of their work. Please email us only at the email address at the top of the page.

If your script is something that the Finborough Theatre may wish to stage or develop, it will be passed on to the Senior Reader who will then decide if the script is suitable for passing on to the Artistic Director/Literary Manager who will then make the final decision on whether the script is suitable for production or further development.

If a script is considered immediately ready for production, the Artistic Director will contact the writer personally and arrange a meeting.

If a script is considered more suitable for development, the Senior Reader will contact the writer personally and either ask to see future work or to arrange a meeting, initiating discussion on redrafts and workshops.



The Finborough Theatre runs its writers’ development programme through selecting plays for further dramaturgy. After an initial meeting, redrafts are encouraged through a closed feedback process with the Artistic Director and/or Senior Reader.

The Finborough Theatre runs writer-based dramaturgy. Our resources are devoted to helping writers train their stagecraft and enhance their unique theatrical voice. We are not interested in conforming writers into writing for a house style. After a process of discussions and redrafts, we organize a stage workshop for the text where an ensemble of development actors work with the writer, Literary Manager and other members of the Finborough Theatre’s artistic team to provide dramaturgical insight and space for experimentation with the text.

As a matter of policy, we do not believe in “development for the sake of it”. Our process of closed private workshops has been developed over the last five years after consultation with many writers on the most genuinely helpful way to develop their work.

With the exception of our annual Vibrant – A Festival of Finborough Playwrights season, we do not offer rehearsed or staged readings, or ask our writers to write short plays or put a time-limit on their creative process. Our focus is always on presenting full length plays.

We are a theatre that develops playwrights, as well as plays. In line with our policy, we offer our writers-in-development the opportunity to participate within the activities of the theatre.

In addition, we foster artistic collaborations amongst writers and other artistic professionals, as well as providing formal and informal activities for the group of writers working out of the Finborough Theatre to meet and build peer networks through get-togethers, masterclasses, skills exchanges and other activities.